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Dynamics of antibiotic resistance genes in plasmids and bacteriophages.

This brief review explores the intricate interplay between bacteriophages and plasmids in the context of antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) dissemination. Originating from studies in the late 1950s, the review traces the evolution of knowledge regarding extrachromosomal factors facilitating horizontal gene transfer and adaptation in bacteria. Analyzing the gene repertoires of plasmids and bacteriophages, the study highlights their contributions to bacterial evolution and adaptation. While plasmids encode essential and accessory genes influencing host characteristics, bacteriophages carry auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that augment host metabolism. The debate on phages carrying ARGs is explored through a critical evaluation of various studies, revealing contrasting findings from researchers. Additionally, the review addresses the interplay between prophages and plasmids, underlining their similarities and divergences. Based on the available literature evidence, we conclude that plasmids generally encode ARGs while bacteriophages typically do not contain ARGs. But extra-chromosomaly present prophages with plasmid characteristics can encode and disseminate ARGs.

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